Helpern Architects


“Architecture firms – in fact, many organizations – don’t often get to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a staff member. This year, we have three!” exclaimed David Paul Helpern, FAIA, as the firm celebrated the triple milestones at Helpern Architects’ February staff meeting.

Architects Jason Cosme and Amauri Guillen, and Office Manager Susan Garrett were surprised at what turned out to be a party in their honor.

David pointed out that the celebration reinforces Helpern Architects’ theme, “Standing the Test of Time,” which refers to both the renovated and new buildings it has designed and also the firm itself, which has weathered six recessions since its founding in 1971.

“We have strong client relationships, and that’s because we have great people,” David explained. “It’s important to institutions, public clients, and developers alike that we have this solid, experienced team.”

Here are the three staff members whose years with the firm and accomplishments were celebrated:

Jason Cosme started his professional career in 2005 by working part-time and summers at Helpern Architects while pursuing his Master of Architecture degree at Pratt Institute [SUNY Buffalo undergraduate]. He joined the firm full-time upon graduating. His first opportunity to see a project through was the long-running New Utrecht High School expansion and modernization, where he began as Junior Architect and rose to become Job Captain.

A knowledgeable, thorough technical architect, Jason was project architect on the all-Pratt-graduate team for the restoration of Main Building, the oldest structure on Pratt’s campus, which had been heavily damaged by a fire. Jason is currently project manager for the closeout phase of the Hilton Hampton Inn on West 41st Street, and for Helpern’s New York City School Construction Authority projects.

Eleven years ago, Susan Garrett came to New York City on a lark, visiting from San Diego, where she had worked in an architectural office. As luck would have it, she found a nine-month sublet, set out to explore the city and, at the same time, find the right job for her skills and interests. One of the ads she answered was from Helpern Architects. Now a member of the Society for Design Administration, Susan is the well-known first voice you hear when you call, the first face you see when you arrive, and the upbeat person who keeps the office going.

Amauri Guillen came to Helpern Architects in 2006 on the recommendation of the director of CUNY’s Office of Space Planning & Capital Budget, where he had been working as a post-graduate intern. A Bachelor of Architecture graduate of New York City College of Technology, Amauri had been recommended by his department chair for a special study of space utilization on CUNY’s campuses.

He has often worked alongside David Helpern to master plan, space plan, and research project feasibility, including the Collegiate School and the UN’s Capital Master Plan. A strong project manager, Amauri is completing a decade’s worth of work to renovate and expand Marble Collegiate Church, add a new portico, and lastly, place a new organ in rebuilt space in the sanctuary. He is currently project architect for 212 Fifth Avenue’s transformation from an abandoned office building into fine apartments, and project manager for Con Edison’s new Sherman Creek Service Center in Inwood. Amauri, an Associate with the firm, is also leader of Helpern’s Technology Committee.